BOSTON — Hundreds attended a vigil on Boston Common Thursday evening in response to events in Ferguson, Missouri, where protests have been going on since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer Saturday.
The gathering was one of many planned across the country by a movement calling itself the National Moment of Silence For Victims of Police Brutality.
The names of those who organizers say were victims of police brutality were shouted from the crowd and repeated into a bullhorn before a moment of silence, during which the crowd raised their hands.
Feminista Jones, a New York resident who is coordinating the movement, told The Boston Globe that each vigil was organized by local activists.
“The best thing about this – all of the organizers have never done anything like this before,” Jones told the Globe. “These are just everyday citizens who decided that they wanted to do something, and that’s important.”
As people gathered on Boston Common, the Associated Press reported that hundreds took to the streets of Ferguson for the fifth night of demonstrations:
St. Louis County police and state troopers were walking alongside demonstrators. Several marchers stopped to shake hands with officers. One woman hugged Capt. Ron Johnson of the Highway Patrol, who is overseeing security.
The scene stands in stark contrast to earlier this week when officers in riot gear and in military equipment clashed with protesters.
The mood Thursday is almost jubilant. A steady line of cars driving by the scene is honking and waving at the protesters.
In response to criticism over how the police had responded to days of protests, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon earlier Thursday gave the state’s highway patrol control over security in the St. Louis suburb.
Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery, who was briefly taken into custody by Ferguson Police Wednesday night, tweeted that the resulting change in tone on the ground was “stunning.”
I’ve been here since Monday afternoon. At no point have officers mixed/mingled/chatted with protesters – until tonight. — Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 14, 2014